LAPORTE | Random drug testing will start in the fall at LaPorte High School for students who drive to school.
The LaPorte Community School Corp. board adopted the policy last week as part of the overall strategic plan developed by a communitywide task force to curb a problem with heroin and other drugs in the city.
Board member Mike Kellems said singling out student drivers falls within the parameters of the law.
“It's one more step in the right direction to provide a deterrent,” said Kellems.
Under the policy, students who drive to school would be selected at random for a drug test.
A positive test would result in suspension of their driving privileges by revoking the permit they're required to have to park on school property.
School Board President Mark Kosior said first offenders would be suspended from driving for the remainder of the semester.
Any further positive test results would result in the ability to drive to school being taken away for a year then during the balance of their years in high school.
“The discipline becomes harsher with additional offenses,” said Kosior.
The measure is also viewed as a way to reach out to students who might need substance abuse treatment or counseling and have a positive impact on their ability to make better choices.
Kellems, who's also a La Porte County sheriff's police sergeant, said all students under the law cannot be drug tested because of their right to a public education.
However, he said groups like students who take part in sports or drive to school can be subject to drug testing because those activities are a privilege.
“Nobody has a right to park on school property or drive to school,” said Kellems.